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National FFA Week: Lander

Feb 18, 2013 - Staff

The Agriculture Education Program at Lander Valley High School consistently produces young people who are motivated and capable. This is evident by the number of State FFA Degrees, American FFA Degrees, State FFA Officers, Champion CDE Teams, State Star recipients, and student enrollment and interest in the program. The program's leadership and willingness to work with the community yields consistent results that are hard to match anywhere.

State-approved programs and courses are Agriculture Education I, Agriculture Education II, Agriculture Education III, Agriculture Education IV and Agriculture Education Project Construction.

Students enrolled in the agriculture education classes at Lander Valley High School have a variety of opportunities to explore and identify areas of career interest. Ag-I students do Internet research about careers available in agriculture and natural resource sciences. Students are expected to evaluate their options for developing a supervised agriculture experience program.

The Lander FFA Chapter will be busy during National FFA Week, Feb. 16 to Feb. 23. Members will be talking about FFA on local radio stations, painting main street business windows, holding a pancake breakfast for LVHS staff members, and setting up for winter fair.

The focus of National FFA Week is to tell America about the great opportunities available for all youth.

With its beginnings in 1928 as the Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization today reaches out to all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

FFA is committed to developing character and leadership skills and preparing members for a lifetime of civic leadership and personal and career success.

FFA members have opportunities to attend national leadership conferences, develop a supervised learning project, learn life skills and serve their communities with service projects.

Through classroom instruction and hands-on learning, agricultural science education and FFA are making a positive difference in the lives of students every day.

FFA members are the leaders of tomorrow. They are our future engineers, scientists, teachers and producers. Students may earn awards and recognition and educational scholarships to pursue their career goals.

One of every five Americans is employed in the critical food, fiber and natural resources industries of agriculture, and former FFA members and supporters serve in these essential careers.

As students enter Ag-II they are required to have some type of approved supervised agriculture experience program. The supervised agriculture experience programs can be in three areas: entrepreneurship, placement in agriculture production or agribusiness, and agricultural sciences. Classroom instructional units incorporate educational requirements, future earning potential and work place environmental conditions of potential future career areas.

Ag-III students submit a completed proficiency application that is evaluated at the local, state and national levels. Ag-IV students complete the Wyoming State FFA Degree application and submit the application to the chapter adviser, which are then sent to the State FFA Association if the applicant meets the minimum requirements for the State FFA Degree.

All the students keep detailed records, including income, expenses and competencies. This helps students develop an understanding of finances as well as build a strong sense of self worth. Guest speakers provide insight about what employers expect and help motivate students to seek out career areas of interest.

Students enrolled in agriculture education courses have the opportunity to participate in 10 competitive career development events. These competitions are a true measure of student performance not only locally but nationally as well.

Many students go on to higher education, self-employment or the work place and experience great successes. It is the students' willingness to work hard and live their dreams that make the Lander FFA and Agriculture Education at Lander Valley High School a successful program.

The general purpose of the advisory committee is to be resource providers and provide all students enrolled in agriculture education equal opportunity for success. Specifically, the committee paid for the school barn that allowed students living in town the opportunity to own and care for animals that are to shown at county and state fair. Without their help, many students would not be able to participate.

Membership in the Lander FFA Chapter is open to all students enrolled in Agriculture Education Classes at Lander Valley High School. Mike McConnell serves as the adviser and instructor.

The FFA allows students the opportunity to apply skills learned in the classroom, lab and shop to real life situations. Students develop a competitive edge that helps them set high expectations for themselves and their FFA chapter. Involvement in FFA serves as a motivating influence for students as they strive to develop supervised agriculture experience programs, become career prepared, and develop citizenship, leadership and cooperation skills that last a lifetime.

Experiential learning occurs in the program by students building their own small businesses and by working in partnership with local business and the ranching community. Individuals have built entrepreneurial programs that include custom haying, contract fencing, turf and landscape management and even full-time ranching. These types of programs require extensive cooperation by parents and community members. Students need to develop business plans and seek out financial backing from local lenders to implement their proposed business. Students continue to use the expertise of the local community to ensure their success in business.

Students also work in job placement programs ranging from working with local ranchers, veterinarians, florists, greenhouse nursery and local small business owners. All students keep accurate records and strive to improve their supervised agriculture experience programs.

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